Canada mourns 15 killed in Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus crash

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the "entire country is in shock and mourning" after a horror crash between a bus carrying a junior ice hockey team and a truck killed 15 people.

The bus was carrying 29 people as the Humboldt Broncos headed to the town of Nipawin for a playoff game when the accident occurred on Friday.

Broncos head coach Darcy Haugan, team captain Logan Schatz and radio announcer Tyler Bieber were confirmed among the dead.

The Queen has sent her condolences to the families mourning the loss of their loved ones.

In her message she writes: “Prince Philip and I were saddened to hear word of the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost so much, with their families and with all Canadians who grieve with them at this difficult time.”

A vigil is scheduled for the team on Sunday night in the small city of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, which has a population of about 6,000.

The team plays in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, which is open to players aged between 16 and 20.

Hassan Masri, a doctor at Saskatoon's Royal University Hospital who has worked in war-torn Syria, said the crash reminded him of an airstrike.

Photographs of the wreckage showed the twisted trailer with most of its wheels in the air and the bus on its side and its back portion destroyed.

The team bus was left in a state of near complete disarray.

Prime Minister Trudeau described the crash as "every parent's worst nightmare", adding: "No one should ever have to see their child leave to play the sport they love and never come back."

Michelle Straschnitzki, who lives in Airdrie, Alberta, said her 18-year old son Ryan was transported to a hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

"We talked to him, but he said he couldn't feel his lower extremities so I don't know what's going on," she said. "I am freaking out. I am so sad for all of the teammates and I am losing my mind."

Humboldt Broncos president Kevin Garinger said: "Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the families of our staff and athletes as well as to all who have been impacted by this horrible tragedy.

Humboldt Broncos president Kevin Garinger said the team family was in shock.

"Our Broncos family is in shock as we try to come to grips with our incredible loss.”

Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench, wearing a green and yellow Broncos team jersey, hugged people Saturday morning as they came to the Elger Petersen Arena in the Saskatchewan town to comfort each other.

"It's overwhelming. It's been tough on everybody," Muench said. "We're a small community; some of those kids have been on the team for a number of years. A lot grew up in the community and everybody knows each other."

Parents gathered at the town's sports centre on Saturday morning.

In the aftermath of the crash authorities said three passengers were in critical condition before later confirming a 15th fatality.

The force of the crash at 5pm local time sent both vehicles into the ditch at the northwest corner of Highway 35.

It is believed the team bus was T-boned by a transport truck.

The bus carrying the junior ice hockey team was struck on Friday evening. Credit: 650 CKOM/980 CJME via AP

Canadian police said the truck driver was initially held but has since been released.

The driver is being provided with mental health assistance.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said it's too early to state a cause for the crash.